Diphtheria is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae, which primarily infects the throat and upper airways (respiratory diphtheria), and produces a toxin affecting other organs.
Diphtheria is transmitted from person to person through close physical and respiratory contact. The incubation period for respiratory diphtheria is 2-5 days [1-3]. Diphtheria has an acute onset and the main characteristics are sore throat, low fever and swollen glands in the neck. The toxin may, in severe cases, cause myocarditis or peripheral neuropathy. The diphtheria toxin causes a membrane of dead tissue to build up over the throat and tonsils, making breathing and swallowing difficult . Diphtheria can be fatal . In regions with temperate climates, most cases occur during the cold season, whereas in warmer climates transmission takes place throughout the year.
Treatment of diphtheria includes diphtheria antitoxin and antibiotics .